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Switching to an electric car

Robert Llewellyn says there’s a perfect electric car for everyone, and reveals six of the best already out there

This article first appeared in our Restoration Revolution issue of MyGreenPod Magazine, distributed with The Guardian on 06 Sept 2019. Click here to subscribe to our digital edition and get each issue delivered straight to your inbox

Just as manufacturers can’t keep up with the demand for electric cars, mainstream media correspondents can’t keep up with the colossal leaps being made in the technology behind them.

You may well be blissfully unaware that there is now an array of affordable, attractive, high-performing electric cars with a range of 150-300 miles – more than enough for the vast majority of people.

Electric car charging points are being rolled out across the UK (there are already more than 14,000), but the thing that surprises most people is that they do 95% of their charging at home.

Waking up at home with a fully charged battery is a liberating experience – especially at a cost of around 2p per mile. For reference, fuelling a diesel or petrol car can cost 10-15p per mile.

This means that while the up-front purchase price is usually a little higher, electric cars are already cost-competitive when you consider their Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).

What’s more, with a fraction of the parts that the combustion engine relies on, servicing an electric car is much cheaper, too.

Nothing to be afraid of

The other things that typically surprise those new to electric cars are their incredible acceleration, how relaxing they are to drive and the fact that they are loaded with much more advanced tech.

Oh, and if you are concerned by air pollution or climate breakdown, coupling your car to clean electricity from a renewable energy supplier means your car will be emission free.

And no, the electricity network won’t go down. The National Grid is on the record as being relaxed about the expected surge in electric vehicle sales.

So when you are ready to switch from your polluting petrol, diesel or hybrid to pure electric, there is really nothing to be afraid of. Quite the opposite.

Supply and demand

From my personal experience, it’s clear that Brits are ready to embrace electric cars in big numbers, but it is frustrating that car companies are already struggling to match demand.

If you were interested in a Hyundai Kona, for example (I’ve been driving one for a few months and it’s great), you may have to wait 12 months to get your hands on one.

Why is this the case? Well, it’s a good question – especially when you consider the fact that in Norway 60% of new car sales are pure electric, compared with an anaemic 1% in the UK.

Making the switch

Having driven electric vehicles for around a decade – from when there really was no infrastructure and the cars in question were somewhat ‘aesthetically challenged’ – I can confidently say there is now a new or used electric car out there for you.

As is the experience of the thousands of EV drivers I meet, once you switch, you really will wonder why you didn’t do it sooner.


Launched by actor, presenter and writer Robert Llewellyn (Red Dwarf, Scrapheap Challenge) nine years ago, Fully Charged is a fun, informative series that covers a wide range of renewable technologies and electric vehicles – from scooters to ships – as well as news about all the latest electric cars that are coming to market.

With more than 400 free episodes on YouTube, weekly podcasts, a website packed with news, views and reviews and
an award-winning exhibition, Fully Charged is the destination for everything electric.

The world’s no.1 clean energy and electric vehicle channel receives around 3m monthly YouTube views and is growing
at an astonishing rate.

Six of the best

In 2020 another slew of affordable electric vehicles will arrive in the UK, including cars from Audi, Honda, Jaguar, Mercedes, MG, Mini, Peugeot, Seat, Skoda, Vauxhall and VW. Here are six of the best on sale right now.

RENAULT ZOE (2019 version)
Size: Supermini
Range: 200 miles
From: £25,000 or £375pcm

BMW i3 (2019 version)
Size: Supermini
Range: 145 miles
From: £31,680 or £375pcm

NISSAN LEAF (2019 version)
Size: Hatchback
Range: 215 miles
From: £35,895 or £450pcm

HYUNDAI KONA (2018 version)
Size: CUV
Range: 245 miles
From: £32,845 or £375pcm

KIA e-NIRO (2019 version)
Size: SUV
Range: 235 miles
From: £32,995 or £400pcm

TESLA MODEL 3 (2019 version)
Size: Saloon
Range: 280 miles (long-range version)
From: £49,440 or £700pcm

Click here to watch the Fully Charged channel and discover more about clean energy and electric vehicles.

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